Essence Magazine, Music Festival Sold

NEW ORLEANS (CelebrityAccess) — Essence Ventures LLC, an independent African-American owned entertainment company, announced that they’ve acquired both Essence Magazine and its related assets, including the Essence Festival from Time Inc.

“This acquisition of Essence represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms”

“This acquisition of Essence represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms,” said Ebanks. “In addition, it represents a critical recognition, centering and elevation of the Black women running the business from solely a leadership position to a co-ownership position.”

According to Essence, the publication’s content channels reach an international audience of more than 16 million across print, digital; social media; and television specials. Assets that were a part of the deal include the Black Women in Hollywood Awards on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network; books; and live events, including the Street Style Block Party during New York Fashion Week and the annual Essence Festival.

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The publication and festival’s new owner, Essence Ventures, was launched in 2017 and is chaired by its founder – Liberian-born investor and Richelieu Dennis. Dennis also serves as the CEO of skin care products manufacturer Sundial Brands.

Founded in 1995 in New Orleans, the Essence Festival has been held there annually and has grown to be one of the largest music festivals in the U.S. In 2017, the festival’s lineup included Diana Ross, Chance the Rapper, Solange, Trombone Shorty, and John Legend among others and the event reported attendance of more than 470,000.

In 2016, the festival also spun off an Essence-branded event in Durban, South Africa.

The 2018 edition of the fest is slated to start on July 5th in NOLA. Details about the lineup have yet to be announced.